“The National Party’s 1975 ‘dancing Cossacks’ advertisement is the most infamous piece of election advertising in New Zealand’s political history. National was trying to turn voters against the Labour government by suggesting that the latter’s recently introduced compulsory superannuation scheme might lead to Soviet-style Communism. It did the trick too, helping sweep Robert Muldoon’s National Party into power in a landslide victory.”
You would think that this ancient history has no relevance any more today. Think again !
History of the Bogeyman
Anti-communism and the resulting cold war got only really started after World War II.
After the expansion of Communism/Socialism into the the middle of Europe and the Korean war anti-communism became the dogma of Western ideology and policy.
I grew up during that period and counted my lucky stars to live in the British and not the Soviet occupied part of Germany. Millions of Germans who had fled from the advancing Soviet army and many more who later moved from the Soviet occupied zone later East Germany to the West were accommodated and integrated. We heard all the horror stories.
We also witnessed first hand the failings of the system in East Germany where the Soviet Union extracted reparations in the form of industrial machinery, railway tracks and anything else valuable, which could be moved to the East. In the West the Allies had learned from the Versailles Treaty and poured millions of Marshall Plan dollars into West Germany to build it up as a bulwark against the Communist threat.
I studied at the American funded “Free” University in West Berlin after the flood of escapees was stemmed by the wall. Still people risked their lives to cross into the West. I cheered President Kennedy delivering his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. I took personal risks to support my East Berlin friends who eventually all ended up in the West.
I am not starry eyed about Communism or regimes like the Soviet Union. In other words I am as far from a Putin apologist as you can get.
However I never stopped thinking independently and developed a mental detector for propaganda not just communist but also Western .
The first thing I became sceptical of was the propaganda driving the cold war arms race. The German word was “Nachrüstung” meaning catching up in the arms race with the Soviet Union magically always being ahead like the fairytale hedgehog ahead of the hare. How could it be that a country and system, which couldn’t feed it’s people properly with a 10 year waiting list for a crappy car while we walked into a show room to pick the best was beating us all the time ?
I also never believed the “weapons of mass destruction” propaganda leading the world into an unjustified war of aggression against Iraq in 2003. The UN weapons inspectors had been monitoring Iraq for years and did not find anything because nothing was there. But Messrs Bush and Blair had itchy trigger fingers.
I am generally sceptical of the “intelligence” services. They are professionally secretive and proven liars who’s interest it is to overstate any real or perceived threat. You will never in a million years get a report from them saying that the dangers has decreased and we can safely cut their budget and staff to spend the money on more worthwhile causes. Which brings me to the collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1889.
The hope was that after the end of the cold war and the former communist countries all adopting Western style neo-liberal policies there would be a peace dividend. Meaning that we could cut defence budgets. No such luck. The defence and “intelligence” establishment and the arms industry are to powerful to allow it. All they needed was a new bogeyman. Easiest to resurrect the old one in the form of Russia the main leftover from the former Soviet Union.
Now Russia was painted as threatening and expansionist even if the opposite was true. It had just shrunk to its core releasing about a dozen states into independence. It was the Western Alliance in the form of NATO and the European Union which expanded their territory towards the Russian border against assurances given when the Soviet Union agreed to the re-unification of Germany.
Resurrection of the Bogeyman
Lets just look at some of the latest “crimes” Russia is accused of :
The fact of the matter is that a democratically elected (pro-Russian) President was overthrown by the CIA financed and supported “Orange Revolution” with the West dangling the carrot of EU and NATO membership. This led to a civil war. The Russians in the East hadn’t forgotten the western Ukrainians doing the dirty work in the concentration camps and betraying the Russian partisans to the Nazis. Russia supported their brethren while the West supports anyone anti-Russian.
The Crimea had been part of Russia for centuries. It was given from one soviet republic to another, the Ukraine, only in 1956 under Soviet Union leader Khrushchev. He came from the Ukraine. The people did not have a say in it. Now Russia offered the Crimea the chance to return to Russia. A referendum was held and the population voted overwhelmingly in favour. No surprise as the majority are Russian. The Western propaganda keeps calling this an annexation.
Meddling in the last US presidential elections
The world renown American thinker Noam Chomsky said about the “meddling” that if everything the Russians were accused of was true the rest of the world would still be rolling around laughing considering how the USA habitually meddle in other countries’ elections and policies as a matter of course. The American hypocrisy is mind boggling.
Poison attack on UK soil
It was all to easy to identify the villain as if he had left his fingerprints and DNA all over the crime scene. Russian President Vladimir Putin seen here after his latest resounding election victory.
All we know is that a nerve agent was used, which was invented during the cold war by Russia and is likely to have been produced in a Russian lab. The rest is conjecture speculation and assumption. Like someone left a Kalashnikov at the crime scene so Putin must have pulled the trigger or at least ordered the murder. The assumption being that in the largest county in the world nothing happens without Putin ordering or at least knowing about it
There are international treaties with protocols how to deal with acts of chemical/biological warfare. In the initial please explain ultimatum the British government at least had the option of how the Russians lost control of the material. This left open the alternative that some unauthorised individual got hold of the agent and conducted the attack. The victim who had betrayed hundreds of his comrades for money had made enough enemies while the Russian government had let him go to Britain years ago in a prisoner exchange.
However before the international investigators had even arrived the culprit was already condemned.
In any crime investigation the key questions is motive. Who benefits from the attack ? So far I can only see one which is British Prime Minister Theresa May and her beleaguered government. They have soared in the polls. I cannot see any motive for Putin to try to have a man killed just months out from the Football World Cup the most prestigious international sporting event ever to be held in Russia. Today he mocked the Western outrage by saying that the man would be dead instead of in hospital if it would be a Russian government attack.
On the other hand Theresa May said that “There is no alternative conclusion”. The “There Is No Alternative” neo-liberal mantra – a blatant logic defying lie – has been driving us all mad for over thirty years.
The main beneficiaries of the media outrage was identified this morning on National Radio when the General Secretary of NATO and old cold war warrior Jens Stoltenberg declared that as part of the alliance’s reaction defence spending was to increase and troops moved to the Russian border. The military-industrial complex are rubbing their hands in glee.
What has New Zealand got to do with it ?
Unfortunately we are part of the “Five Eyes” international spy network of the old English speaking imperial world. We have to do what our spy masters tell us and tow the line. We still try to curry favours with the colonial motherland conveniently forgetting that we did not get any support when the Rainbow Warrior was bombed in Auckland harbour. That was a proven clear cut terrorist attack by a foreign government and not just suspicion and accusation. The British hypocrisy stinks to high heaven now demanding our support.
The only one holding out for a while trying to maintain some independent foreign policy was our foreign minister Winston Peters.
The Cossacks are still dancing.